The search for safe ways to increase life span is a hot topic for research, investigation and debate. Recently, researchers have found some more compelling evidence to suggest that certain amino acids could provide long term benefits for prolonging healthy life span.
There were numerous physiological changes that may account for this significant increase. First of all, there was increased activity in the SRT-1 gene – expression of this gene has been linked with reduced effects of ageing upon cells. Cell damage due to oxidation by free radicals was also markedly reduced – this is a common environmental cause of ageing.
The benefits for the mice did not simply relate to increased longevity. Results also showed that those mice given the amino acid blend had increased energy levels compared to the control group, linked to increased activity of the cell’s energy centres, mitochondria. These are the tiny organelles in every cell that convert chemical energy into a usable form (ATP).
The cross-over benefits of this seemed to be high physical energy levels, improved muscular endurance, and perhaps surprisingly, improved coordination. In elderly people and animals these are all qualities that tend to suffer with age, so improvements translate to promotion of more youthful physical qualities and an increased quality of life.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
The blend included leucine, valine and isoleucine (BCAAs); three essential aminos without which humans cannot survive. Of course, these amino acids are present in quantities adequate for good health in an average diet. The question is whether boosting intake levels through supplementation would result in the same benefits for humans – a 12% lifespan increase for a human could equate to an extra decade of life.
After all, though mice are a standard for scientific testing their metabolisms are not identical to humans’.Although the amino acids are present in dietary proteins, amino acid supplements do not require any additional digestion. The result is that the acids can enter the blood stream straight from the digestive system. As such they may be absorbed more effectively where they are needed, providing specific benefits.
Their positive effects on protein synthesis may make them especially useful for fighting degenerative diseases.Overall, the idea that non-invasive, nutritionally based solutions can indeed provide life prolonging and improving benefits is one that is being taken more seriously by the scientific community.
Due to their low cost and high availability branched chain amino acid supplements are an attractive option for all people wishing to improve their health and longevity. It is hoped that more future studies on amino supplementation will feature human test subjects.